Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Teacher wellbeing series

I’m not sure about where you are in the world right now, but here, I definitely feel like Christmas is close. Festive songs are playing on the radio and many houses I drive are lit up or there are subtle glimpses of trees behind many curtains.

It’s a busy time for everyone, but for teachers, it’s almost a race against time: end-of-term activities, work, tests, projects, nativities, plays, carol concerts, charity days, reviews etc. etc. This list is excluding the mania in your actual, personal life too! So I thought, what better time to do a 3-part ‘teacher wellbeing’ series via email?

Sign up at the link below (completely free) and I will email you a wellbeing graphic to help you now, but also something that will be useful all through 2017 and forever more. Then Thursday 15th, I'll email another, then your third on 22nd. These include de-stress tips and how teachers can get better sleep..

To sign up for this free email series, please email natalie@reflectivethinking.com with the subject ‘Teacher wellbeing’ OR click through to sign-up via our form.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

FREE Thinking Kit activity - Women’s Suffrage


Women’s Suffrage activity

In our free Thinking Kit App, you can download activities created by us, those shared by other educators (or even learners) or those that you have created yourself. To do so:
  1. Download the app (click here or search Thinking Kit App on the App Store).
  2. Launch the app, tap Educator, then New Session then 'Download task'.
  3. Enter the Task Code (6928 for the Women's Suffrage task or click here for other activities).
More information about the Bob's Password Algorithm activity

Subject: History
Topic: Women's Suffrage Movement, Politics, Voting, Women's History,
Audience: 14-16 year olds
Question: Who should get the credit for the success of the campaign to give British women the vote on equal terms with men?
Author: Reflective Thinking
Task Code: 6928

This Thinking Kit activity, written by Elizabeth Doyle, explores the long and short term causes of the Woman’s Suffrage Movement, and the events that led to its eventual success. Transformed into a free iPad task to commemorate International Women’s Day 2016 and Women’s History Month, it could be used as an introduction to the movement, and would also support studies at GCSE.

Students are encouraged first of all to create an overview of the campaign, and to identify and evaluate the ways in which the supporters of the movement sought to achieve their aims. In doing so, the more able should come to realise that this was not a campaign that was united at all times. They are then encouraged to consider whether the more radical tactics of the ‘Suffragettes’ were a help or perhaps a hindrance to the eventual change in the law. In addition, factors outside of the actual campaign are examined; the developments in both women’s education and the creation of Parish Councils had encouraged a growing awareness of the need for women’s emancipation. This was a topic for discussion by the daughters of the growing middle (and upper) class population.

The ways in which the students make sense of the information are up to them. As the activity was designed with a “problem solving” Digital Mysteries task, we recommend that students follow the three “stage” technique: firstly read all of the slips, secondly create named groups (with the grouping tool) and then sort the slips into some sort of order or chain. This helps them make the most out of the information as well as externalise their thinking onto the screen.

This task supports differentiation. It was originally designed with three different difficulty levels in mind, so that as the difficulty level goes up, the more slips of information are given to students – specifically the more complex slips. Different sub-questions are recommended for each group of slips too. If you would like to follow Elizabeth’s ‘easy, medium, hard’ plan (please see below), you can use the Thinking Kit Creator to delete the slips not needed for easy or medium, and click ‘save as’. This will generate a new code for you to use to download the activity in the Thinking Kit App. You could also use the Thinking Kit Creator to add your own bits of information and images, or better still, get the students to research the topic and see what they add. The whole class could then have a go at completing each other's customised activities.

Easy

Slips 1-14

Recommended sub-questions:
  • Who was Emily Davies, and what was her contribution to the Women’s Suffrage Movement?
  • What methods did the Women’s Suffrage Movement use in their campaign?
Medium

Slips 1-20

Recommended sub-questions:
  • What objectives did the Suffrage campaigners have?
  • What disagreements over tactics existed between the different Suffrage campaigners?
  • What influence did Parish Councils and the extension of education opportunities have on the campaign?
Hard

Slips 1-24

Recommended sub-questions:
  • In your view, what were the most effective methods; the making of modest demands in a legal way, or drastic and illegal acts? (i.e. ‘Suffragists’ or ‘Suffragettes’?)
  • Why were so many of the campaigners from more wealthy backgrounds?

https://itunes.apple.com/app/thinking-kit-app/id1021991777?mt=8





FREE Thinking Kit activity - Bob's Password Algorithm

Bob's Password Algorithm activity

In our free Thinking Kit App, you can download activities created by us, those shared by other educators (or even learners) or those that you have created yourself. To do so:
  1. Download the app (click here or search Thinking Kit App on the App Store).
  2. Launch the app, tap Educator, then New Session then 'Download task'.
  3. Enter the Task Code (5 for Bob's Password Algorithm or click here for other activities).
More information about the Bob's Password Algorithm activity

Subject: Computing
Topic: Logical Reasoning, Algorithms, Variables, Passwords, Digital Literacy
Audience: 8 - 11 year olds
Question: Bob has had an idea to help his family make safer, more memorable passwords. Take a look at the cards and see what steps he has set out. Add notes to write the password generation algorithm in one line and show what the password will be for a different name and website.
Author: Reflective Thinking
Task Code: 5

This mystery is about a simple password generation algorithm that ‘Bob’ suggested to his family that can help them create unique passwords for each family member and for each website. Through explaining how his algorithm works, ‘Bob’ explains what an algorithm is by making basic use of variables and some simple logic.

The task has been designed for the curriculum topic ‘use logical reasoning to explain how simple algorithms work’. It also provides the opportunity to refresh students’ understanding of other areas in the earlier stages of the curriculum such as algorithms and variables while they apply logical reasoning skills to understand the behaviour of an algorithm and predict its output. The mystery also demonstrates to the students how the result of the same algorithm differs based on its initial state and its input variables.
In addition to the programming-related aspects of the curriculum, the mystery also brings students’ attention to digital literacy with regards to keeping personal information private (such as passwords), and the importance of choosing strong, private, yet easy to remember passwords.

'Bob’s password algorithm' can be used:
  • To introduce new concepts such as logical reasoning
  • To review topics such as algorithms and variables
  • As a tool for assessing students’ understanding of algorithms, how variables are used, and how to follow up and execute an algorithm using logical reasoning.
Learning outcomes
  • Use logical reasoning to understand how a simple algorithm works
  • Understand variables and terms such as initial values and input variable
  • Recognise that the same algorithm can produce different outputs depending on its initialization values (in this case the person’s name), and its input variables (in this case the secret number and the website name).
  • Understand the importance of keeping passwords secret 
  • Learn some ideas on how to create their own algorithm to generate their own unique, yet easy to remember passwords.
https://itunes.apple.com/app/thinking-kit-app/id1021991777?mt=8





FREE Thinking Kit activity - Chugley Film Festival

Chugley Film Festival activity

In our free Thinking Kit App, you can download activities created by us, those shared by other educators (or even learners) or those that you have created yourself. To do so:
  1. Download the app (click here or search Thinking Kit App on the App Store).
  2. Launch the app, tap Educator, then New Session then 'Download task'.
  3. Enter the Task Code (7785 for Chugley or click here for other activities).
More information about the Chugley Film Festival activity

Subject: Media
Topic: Film Festival, Audience, Genres, Education, Marketing, Industry
Audience: 14 - 16 year olds
Question: Which film would be suitable for Mr. Spine to show at the next ‘Film Evening’ and why?
Author: Elizabeth Doyle
Task Code: 7785

This resource is designed to help students apply their knowledge of the concept of target audience and demographics. They do this through the scenario of Mr. Spine who lives in a village called Chugley and runs the local film club. Students are asked to help him decide on a suitable film for the other residents.

It is hoped that this will help students to identify the different factors, such as income, education and age that are taken into account by the marketing industry, and consider how these things could influence a decision-making process such as this.

Before the students are introduced to the material, a homework task could be set to compile a broad list of films of various genres and types. These could then form the basis of their choice as they would then be able to discuss and comment upon these in class. If more research is needed, the class could have online access to resources such as IMDB.

As well as the main question, we have included some additional sub-questions below, which help students break down the task or encourage them to think about specific points:
  • Which demographic groups are represented by the people in the village?
  • Which films would be completely unsuitable?
  • What time of day should the show be scheduled to start?
  • Which films would appeal to the broadest possible audience?
  • What evidence is there to suggest there are some quite wealthy people in Chugley, as well as people on more modest incomes?
  • What risks would Frank be taking if he chose a film rated 12A or above?
  • What assumptions could be made about the residents of Chugley?
  • How might the residents of Chugley defy expectations?

Learning outcomes

With a free 30 day trial of the Thinking Kit Creator, you can open up this activity and delete or add any cards you like. Students could add in the films of their choice too and give out their activity code to others to share what they thought was the right film. This is our guide to difficulty levels:

Easy difficulty level (cards 1-18): in the most basic form, students are given a lot of information on the village of Chugley including the age and occupations of some residents. This is so they can assess the demographic then discuss and match up suitable film choices.

Medium difficulty level (cards 1-22): extra slips are included to help students focus on the economic profile of the people of the village, and its appearance as a very 'up-market' place, although with a sizeable number of people on an average income. They could be encouraged to ask what assumptions could be made about the tastes and habits of wealthier people.

Hard difficulty level (cards 1-24): some may want to extend their consideration to the possible political views of the population, and whether this would suggest a more 'liberal' audience, or a more 'cautious/conservative (with a small 'c')' one.

https://itunes.apple.com/app/thinking-kit-app/id1021991777?mt=8